In Boroko District Court in Papua New Guinea on Monday (10 December) two Papuans were charged with having murdered two men of Chinese descent the previous day.
Police gather for search 9 1/2 (Australian Inspector Keith Muller leads search
Police searching bush for weapons
Boys look on
Road, pan to search in progress
Searching drain Inspector Keith Muller
Axe found by native searcher
Villagers look on
Axe and baton found
Road, pan to blood patch
Road, pan to where vehicle ploughed off
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Background: In Boroko District Court in Papua New Guinea on Monday (10 December) two Papuans were charged with having murdered two men of Chinese descent the previous day. The murder followed a road accident in which a local Papuan woman was killed by the car the Chinese were driving. The accident occurred at Brown River, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of the capital Port Morosby.
The two Papuans -- Paulo Manugu, 40 and Lipo Maima, 26 -- wore remanded in custody until December 24th, after the court had heard how they had hacked to death the two Chinese men, Francis Lee, 26 and Lee Phillip, 18.
The accident occurred at about seven o'clock Sunday morning when Lee's car struck a village woman who was out picking pumpkin pods by the roadside. The car skidded off the road and became bogged down. Lee and Phillip made an attempt to escape the angry villagers (from the Goilala village) by running from the car but they were caught and beaten to death by the villagers who were wielding clubs, tomahawks and knives.
Also travelling in the car was a young Chimbu highlander, believed to be Leo and Phillip's houseboy. He too was badly beaten but survived, he is now in Port Moronby hospital in a serious condition.
The revenge killings were motivated by the traditional Papua New Guinean system of justice known as "payback". Concepts of guilt and innocence are abandoned for a basic eye-for-eye system of retribution. Any damage done to the property or person of a tribe must be repaid by similar damage to the property or person of the offending tribe. Eighty nine years of colonial rule have failed to make any real impact on this traditional method of settling disputes. The authorities in Papua New Guinea are anxious that this hangover from the days of tribal warfare is replaced by the European system of justice as soon as possible.